Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I've got this beautiful panoramic three-dimensional painting of Mars based on Martian photos. It's 30 feet wide. You can pick out every pebble on the Martian landscape. And who'd have dreamed you could do that?"
- Arthur C. Clarke

Dray-Fish  
  Large fish trained to be harnessed to large houseboats.  

The citizens of Sirene appear to have little need for advanced electronics; most of their needs are met by the remarkable fecundity of the Titanic littoral. In this case, motive power for their houseboats is provided by large marine animals.

He bent over the rails, peered down into the underwater pens where Toby and Rex, the slaves, were harnessing the dray-fish for the weekly trip to Fan, eight miles north. The youngest fish, either playful or captious, ducked and plunged...

The fish were finally harnessed... The dray-fish strained, the harness tautened, the houseboat moved north.

From The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance.
Published by Pocket Books in 1976
Additional resources -

So, could fish provide motive power for a boat?

In 1936, Sir James Gray promulgated the following paradox: dolphins are observed to swim very fast, but if you calculate the available musculature, there is no where near enough power. Yet they do swim fast. Hence the paradox.

In 1960, it was hypothesized that the compliance (it has "give" to it due to the blubber that underlies it) of dolphin skin would delay water flowing over the skin, preventing turbulence. This would greatly reduce the factor of drag, and remove the paradox. More recently, however, it was shown that while dolphin skin reduces drag, it is also true that dolphin musculature provides significantly more power than a human being's - which is what Gray's calculations were based on. So there is no paradox, and yes, there could be dray-fish!

Take a look at the float-home, from Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert, for another way for a marine animal to power a boat.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon Moth
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Moon Moth
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Articles related to Transportation
Musk Tweets A Boring Tunnel Pic
Tesla Electric Automatobus Prototype Spotted?
easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.